Communication Styles in the Workplace

According to information gathered at TechMark, communication barriers are costing businesses around $37 billion per year. A whopping 97% of all employees feel that communication impacts the quality of work they produce and 86% of employees and executives believe communication is hindering their collaboration in the workplace. The good news is that improved communication in the workplace can correct productivity by as much as 25%.

Communications styles in the workplace define the way we interact, directly and indirectly. By becoming aware of the art of communication, it is possible to improve your ability to work with others and to strengthen and enhance your own skills as well.

Types of Workplace Communication

There are four basic styles of communication in the workplace. They are as follows:



We’ve all had “that boss” who yells and screams and is constantly trying to intimidate his employees. Aggressive people often feel threatened and react with aggression out of frustration and fear.

Aggressive personalities frequently attempt to dominate conversations and people too. They tend to act or react before thinking and often negatively impact relationships. Their communication style may decrease productivity in the long run.

Aggressive individuals may:

  • Interrupt a lot
  • Get angry frequently
  • Invade personal space
  • Maintain intense and/or angry eye contact
  • Have an overbearing posture
  • Use aggressive gestures

Tips for dealing with co-workers and bosses who are aggressive:

Practice being calm yet assertive. Do your best not to feel intimidated or controlled by an aggressive individual. Don’t back down but do it in a constructive manner. Keep conversations professional rather than personal. When it’s time to walk away – don’t be afraid to do so.

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Passive people often appear like they just don’t care. You may think of them as being lazy or indifferent and sometimes, that is true. In a work relationship, they may not pull their fair share because of their lackadaisical demeanor.

Passive people don’t typically make great bosses and supervisors because they rarely take an authoritarian approach to situations. They are usually easy going and don’t cause many waves.

Passive workers and bosses may:

  • Have soft voices
  • Appear unconcerned
  • Be fearful of the opinions of others
  • Be people pleasers
  • Come across as being slackers
  • Not seem like they are pulling their weight

When dealing with passive co-workers and bosses, you may find that asking open-end questions help them to communicate more effectively. Try to involve them more in projects you do together. It is also helpful to ask them for their opinions and input.



Passive aggressive individuals are typically passive people who wish they had the guts to be aggressive or vice versa. They aren’t as laid back as true passives but don’t have the personality to be outspoken like aggressive people, so they tend to hold their feelings in until they come out in an undercurrent kind of way.

Passive aggressive people may come across as being dishonest because they are often torn. They may have an option they are afraid to voice in an outwardly direct manner.

Passive aggressive workers and bosses may:

  • Be sarcastic
  • Exhibit fear and intimidation in indirect ways
  • Say what others want to hear but really feel otherwise
  • Come across as being two-faced
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When attempting to work with passive aggressive people, your best bet is to directly ask them questions. In the event they say one thing but appear to believe a different way, assure them it is alright to disagree and that they are entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. Do your best to bring out the honesty in a passive aggressive person.



An assertive communication style is generally appreciated as being the most effective. It combines respect with productivity in a manner that is widely accepted. This kind of communication promotes being polite but isn’t intimidated. Assertive individuals usually stand for what they believe in but allow others to disagree without being offended.

Assertive people tend to be self-confident. They are aware of their limitations, however, and are open to growth.

Assertive communicators may:

  • Confront others in a kind and respectful way
  • Step up to a challenge without being threatened
  • Facilitate productive discussions
  • Be open to taking others’ advice
  • Encourage others to share their feelings and opinions

When dealing with an assertive co-worker or boss, you can let your guard down. You are safe. You don’t have to second-think everything you say for fear you’ll be misunderstood or bashed. You might also consider learning from this type of communication style to improve your own.

Benefits of Knowing the Communication Styles


There is a huge advantage to learning the four styles of communication in the workplace. Now that you can readily accurately identify the way those who work around you talk and act, you can make the decision not to allow their style to affect your own. You can make sound choices based on the information at hand rather than you own misinformation or emotions.

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Production within the workplace is priority or you won’t have a workplace to worry about. It’s when people that have different skills, personalities, and communication styles can come together to achieve a common goal that a business will flourish and when it flourishes, so will you as an employee or employer and as an individual.

Being a team player is what working with others is all about. Making improvements on your personal style of communication and being able to effectively work alongside others with other styles is the key.

Learning and Growing Through Knowledge

There is no right or wrong workplace communication skill because it takes all kinds of personalities to make a business run right. But there are skills that each type of communicator can learn. There are also effective ways to deal with those who communicate differently from you.

At AMEequipment, we are all about promoting health in the workplace. From the equipment in your medical office to sharing knowledge to better communication skills at your place of employment, we strive to make your environment a better place.